Wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often, they are misaligned and require removal. When wisdom teeth are misaligned, they may be positioned horizontally, be angled toward or away from the second molars, or be angled inward or outward. Poor alignment of wisdom teeth can lead to crowding or damage to the neighboring teeth, the jawbone, or nerves.
Wisdom Teeth Extractions
Wisdom teeth also can be impacted. Impaction means when they are enclosed within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone, or only partially break through or erupt through the gum. Partial eruption of the wisdom teeth allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease, because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult. In rare cases, impacted third molars can even cause cysts to form around them that would require extensive jaw surgery to remove.
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